In a conference within the Sound & Sight Exhibition hosted on Friday, Dynaudio announced a new line-up of their Confidence series theater system.
As far as I can tell, this is the third revision of their flagship series of products that comes with all the latest-to-date bells and whistles you would come to expect in a hi-fi sound sound system.
While I’m not privy to the concise details of making speakers, Dynaudio Academy director Roland Hoffman has given a short introduction to what they have made to improve their Dynaudio Confidence line-up.
You can see the video intro below:
Short hands-on testing with the Confidence 60
Showcased in the video above, we also got a quick listen to the sound capabilities of its flagship.
While keeping in mind I have no frame of reference to the audio quality of theatre systems, the audio quality is good. It is perhaps the most distinct sounds I’ve heard coming from any device with incredible soundstage replication.
While the microphone that I was using couldn’t truly recreate what I heard, its still a good reference to how dynamic and smooth the overall soundstage is; you can have a listen below:
Hands on with the LCD-1
Roughly a month ago, Audeze released a new entry level headset in their LCD series of headphones that was meant as a baseline for their other headsets in the series. Still equipped with the planar magnetic technology, the LCD-1 is a lightweight, open-back and budget conscious alternative to the flagship line-ups.
I had a chance to try one of these headsets on Friday and the results were interesting to say the least. Let’s get to it.
Once again, we have opted for a variety of music in this test and thanks to being able to use Spotify at the venue, we were able to ensure similar audio quality for each track.
While I won’t go over in detail, it is suffice to say that Audeze has set up another Splitter-Filter-Amp combination that is really high-end for promotional purposes. Both headsets that I’m using for testing are plugged into the same source so there would be no difference in audio quality on the hardware side.
Music list (in order of listening):
- Forever in Love – Kenny G
- Once in a Lifetime – Soda Green
- Hey soul Sister – Train
- Enter Sandman – Metallica
- X gon’ give it to ya – DMX
- Johnny Boy – Sanitano
- Lieder der Freiheit – Santiano
- The sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
- Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – Ryuchi Sakamoto
In this test, I will be comparing the LCD-1 against the flagship, the LCD-04. While not a fair comparison by any stretch, it gave me a good idea of just how much has been cut back in quality in order for Audeze to be able to bring these kinds of headphones into the mainstream price range.
I had also opted to listen to the full song first on one device then switching to the other. To reduce perceived bias, the headphones would be alternated as to which I listened first.
First impressions were interesting; I had expected the same kind of neutral sounding tone, much like the Audeze flagships that I’ve tried. Instead, it produced a brighter sound signature towards much of the high end of the tone that takes a couple of seconds to get used to if you’ve switched these headphones around like me.
Quality wise, the headphones were light but still pretty sturdy without a flashy finish. The foam padding is on-par with headphones you can find in this price range and is overall a comfortable fit for most. Unfortunately for me, my ear lobes were slightly bigger than the cups so the acoustic sealing would be worse for me but of course, your experience may vary.
Surprisingly, I find the listening experience of the LCD-1 to be quite comparable to its bigger brother when it came to “easy to drive” songs. For genres like Pop and Rap like “Gon’ give it to ya” and “Hey soul Sister” which features predominantly mid-to-low-range vocals and instrumentals, the enunciation is clear and distinct with nothing much (at least for me) separating the headphones from each other.
Going to the bass side of things, things definitely felt smoother and crispier on the LCD-04. Listening to Enter Sandman by Metallica, the bass from the electric guitar and drum from the chorus felt that much tighter in the banding on the low end with the “right” mix of volumes coming from the low-end bass and mid-range vocals. I found the bass to be a touch sharp on the LCD-1 and would no doubt correct this in the EQ.
As an order of preference (of which I prefer), do keep in mind that the bass doesn’t offer massive low reverbs from the driver within the cup so don’t expect the kind of bass-y punch in the base that you could expect from something like Beats headphones.
That said, the investigative part of me really wanted to see if the initial nuance I had with the treble was actually a difference in audio finesse; I had just the perfect song to test this on too.
Listening to Forever in Love by Kenny G, this smooth jazz performance has its main instrument predominantly in the >1KHz range which allowed me to test the upper-mid to high end spectrum of the LCD-1 perfectly. Towards the end of the song at around the 3-minute mark, the headphones falter to produce the (albeit) slight differences between the tones at the bands between the 7 – 11 Khz mark which can be heard more vividly on the flagship.
Still, the treble is solid and my criticism are nit-picky at most when considering the tier of products that this headphone is competing against.
Pairing the 90mm drivers
Although the headphones come with rather large drivers, it doesn’t take much to drive them to a good volume. The testing headset that one set was using comes with a nothing-fancy male to male 3.5mm audio jack connected to a MacBook. It was able to drive the headphones decently and I had no complaints about the volume.
As an added bonus, I found the headphones to be a good pairing for my Fiio X3 and would probably be even better with some slight EQ tweaking.
These headphones will retail at $629 and is currently on pre-order from the local distributor.
All in all, comparatively speaking, they deliver about 85% of the audio quality as compared to their flagship which is pretty impressive. Unless you have a definite preference for close-back designs, the LCD-1 finally provides a value-oriented product for those that want to try planar magnetic headphones without splashing quite a bit of money for that experience.
At the price range, it is a strong competitor for the mainstream to mid-high-end market and will give other manufacturers like Sennheiser, AKG, Sony and others a run for their money.